The wicket-keeper’s importance in a team has increased over the years as he is no longer the player who gets a place in the playing XI due to his keeping skills but he needs to possess batting abilities as well. Earlier, the wicket-keepers used to bat at no.8 or no.9 down the order but now with the evolution of the game, keepers like Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, Mohammad Shahzad open the batting for their nations.
The limited overs format needs all the 11 players of the team to perform their role well. There have been several great wicket-keeper batsmen since the 2000s and here is the list of the highest individual score by the glovesmen of the top 10 ODI teams of the world.
#10 Pakistan – Kamran Akmal – 124 (125) vs West Indies, 2005
Kamran Akmal kept wickets for Pakistan for almost a decade. He played some vital innings down the order for them in the initial stages of his career which led to the wicket-keeper’s promotion in the batting order. Assigned the responsibility to open the innings against West Indies in a VB series match at Brisbane in 2005, Kamran helped his team win the match with a crucial century.
After inviting the Windies to bat first, Pakistan restricted them to 273/5 in their 50 overs with Naved-ul-Hasan with 2/55 being the pick of the bowlers. Chasing 274, Akmal gave the perfect start to the Men in Green and scored 124 off 125 balls which included 12 fours. He won the man of the match award in his team’s 6 wicket victory.
#9 England – Jos Buttler – 129 (77) vs New Zealand, 2015
Jos Buttler is one the best wicket-keeping batsmen in the T20 format. However, he has proved his dominance in the 50 overs format as well by playing aggressive innings for his nation. Batting at no.6 in a One-Day International against a mighty New Zealand, the scoreboard read 180/4 after 24.3 overs when Buttler walked in to bat. He wasted no time and started hitting big shots.
His 177 run partnership with Adil Rashid (69) helped England reach 408/9 in their 50 overs. Buttler smashed 13 fours and 5 sixes in his 77-ball stay on the 22 yards. England won the match comprehensively by 210 runs and took a 1-0 lead in the series. Jos Buttler was rightly adjudged the Man of the Match for his superb innings with the bat.
#8 Afghanistan – Mohammad Shahzad 131*(133) vs Zimbabwe, 2015
The 30-year-old from Afghanistan is known for his six-hitting power and match-winning innings for the Afghan side while opening the innings. He has smashed 5 hundreds for his side in the One-Day international format and his 131* against Zimbabwe remains his highest score. Zimbabwe scored 253/7 batting first in the match at Sharjah. Dawlat Zadran’s 3 wicket haul helped Afghanistan restrict the African side for a chasable score.
The Blue Tigers got off to a whirlwind start as their wicket-keeper batsman M Shahzad blew away the Zimbabwean bowling attack. However, they collapsed from 169/1 to 198/6 to bring Zimbabwe back into the match but Shahzad held his nerve and remained unbeaten on 131* a knock which comprised 7 fours and 8 sixes to help Afghanistan win the match by 4 wickets.
#7 Bangladesh – Mushfiqur Rahim – 144 (150) vs Sri Lanka, 2018
After Lasith Malinga ran through the top 3 of the Bangladeshi batting order in the Asia Cup opener, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammed Mithun stabilized the innings with a solid partnership. Rahim played the best ODI innings of his life scoring 144 off 150 balls against the Sri Lankan bowlers. His innings led the Bangla Tigers to 261 in their first innings. Rahim hit 11 fours and 4 sixes in his 150-ball stay on the crease.
A superb effort from the Bangladeshi bowlers bowled Sri Lanka for a meager 124 as they fell short by 20 runs off Rahim’s score. This match will even be remembered for Tamim Iqbal’s lion-hearted effort where the left-handed batsman came out to bat with one hand after retiring earlier in the innings with an injury.
#6 Sri Lanka – Kumar Sangakkara – 169 (137) vs South Africa, 2013
Kumar Sangakkara made history in the 2015 World Cup by becoming the first player in cricket history to hit 4 consecutive hundreds. But he played the best ODI knock of his career in 2013 when South Africa toured the island nation. In the 1st match of the one-day series, South Africa elected to bowl first after winning the toss. Dilshan and Tharanga provided a stable start to Sri Lanka. However, it was the veteran wicket-keeper who helped his team post a 300+ total on the board.
Sangakkara scored 169 off 137 balls and hit 18 fours and 6 maximums as the South Africans failed to scalp his wicket until the 49th over. South Africa failed to match Sangakkara’s score in the 2nd innings as they were bundled out for 140 enabling Lanka to a 180 runs win in the match.
#5 West Indies – Denesh Ramdin – 169 (121) vs Bangladesh, 2014
When Bangladesh and West Indies clashed in the final ODI of the 3 match series, Windies had already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Bangladesh battled to salvage their pride in the 3rd match and got off a fine start dismissing both of the opposition openers before the completion of 5 overs.
But Darren Bravo and Denesh Ramdin who came out at no.3 and no.4 respectively stitched a 258 run partnership for the 3rd wicket. After Bravo lost his wicket, Ramdin continued the assault as he scored runs at a blistering rate. Ramdin whacked 8 fours and 11 sixes in his mind-blowing knock of 169 runs. Ravi Rampaul’s 4-wicket haul in the 2nd innings helped Windies inflict a whitewash by winning the match with a margin of 91 runs.
#4 New Zealand – Luke Ronchi – 170* (99) vs Sri Lanka, 2015
With a handful of days left before the 2015 World Cup, New Zealand battled against Sri Lanka in a 7-match ODI series. In the 5th match of the series, Sri Lanka dismissed the 5 batsmen of the NZ batting order before the total even crossed the three-digit mark. Luke Ronchi joined hands with Grant Elliot (104*) as the two stalwarts took the bowlers to the cleaners at Dunedin.
They added 267 runs for the 6th wicket as New Zealand did not lose even a single wicket in the last 30 overs of the innings. Ronchi batted with a strike rate of 171.71 in a knock studded with 14 fours and 9 sixes. Eventually, the Kiwis won the match by 108 runs and Grant Elliot and Luke Ronchi were jointly awarded the player of the match award.
#3 Australia – Adam Gilchrist – 172 (126) vs Zimbabwe, 2004
After winning the toss at Hobart, Ricky Ponting elected to bat first against Zimbabwe. Adam Gilchrist opened the innings with Matthew Hayden and the duo added 140 for the first wicket before Hayden departed. Gilchrist then had vital partnerships with Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn as they took Australia to 310 before Gilchrist lost his wicket.
The Aussie keeper had done enough damage until then as he had scored 172 runs in just 126 balls to help Australia post a mammoth total on the board. Gilly hit 13 fours and 3 sixes as the hosts set a target of 345 for Zimbabwe.
The African minnows tried hard but could score only 196/6 in their 50 overs as Australia won the match by 148 runs and Adam Gilchrist won the Man of the Match award.
#2 South Africa – Quinton de Kock – 178 (113) vs Australia, 2016
Quinton de Kock quickly rose to the top and established himself as the cornerstone of the South African batting line-up with his batting technique. Opening the innings for SA, de Kock has smashed several hundreds for his side. His best knock was the 178 run innings against Australia at Centurion in 2016. Set a target of 295 in the first match of the series, de Kock and Rilee Rossouw opened the innings for the home side.
The opening pair scored 145 for the 1st wicket before Rossouw departed and du Plessis joined de Kock in the middle to add 123 for the 2nd wicket. The left-handed wicket-keeper batsman played the lead role in both the partnerships as he mustered 178 runs off 113 balls to help his side win the match by 6 wickets.
#1 India – Mahendra Singh Dhoni – 183* (145) vs Sri Lanka, 2005
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been the best wicket-keeper batsman in the limited overs format with his keeping and batting both skills remaining unmatched by any other keeper in the world. He burst into the international scene with his 183* against Sri Lanka in a match at Jaipur. Kumar Sangakkara’s 138* helped the Lankan Lions set a stiff target of 299 for the home team.
After Sachin departed in the first over, Dhoni came out to bat at no.3 and played the best innings of his life as he sent 10 deliveries out of the park and also hit 15 fours in his heroic effort to help India script a memorable win. Dhoni had a strike rate of over 125 and remained unbeaten till the end as the Men in Blue wrapped up the game inside 47 overs.